Howie Zales is an Emmy Award-winning camera operator who channeled his passion for television broadcasting into several entrepreneurial endeavors. In 2000, he created HJZ Productions, Inc. to meet the need for professional-level sports crews and staff in the New York market.
Howie’s latest venture, Viridity Entertainment Services, Inc., was initially focused on staffing in non-union markets. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Howie pivoted Viridity Entertainment to provide best-in-class, broadcast-quality livestreaming of professional sports shows and interviews, corporate meetings, and religious services.
Howie and Connected Enterprise host Carl Lewis chatted about the shift to virtual meetings and events and the technology and best practices for conducting them.
Virtual and Hybrid Events Are Here to Stay
Last fall, the rabbi at Howie’s temple worried about missing services because of local lockdowns. After researching livestreaming and high-end technology, Howie kept the services running smoothly by setting up video cameras and having people call in from their homes. Howie’s next livestreaming project was for a client who needed to interview nine major league baseball players from nine different cities – without leaving the house.
Howie explains the benefits of continuing virtual and hybrid events indefinitely: Attendees can stay safe in their homes, save money by not shelling out for flights and hotel rooms, and remain productive while tuning in to an event. Luckily, today’s technology can deliver a virtual experience comparable to an in-person one.
Producing a Stand-Out Event
The days of strolling a crowded convention hall may be behind us (at least for now), but it’s still possible to bring a large group of attendees together for a memorable virtual event. A content delivery network (CDN) enables virtual rooms and breakout sessions to foster lively discussions. You can sell virtual tickets through the CDN and use analytics to see who attends, which device they’re using, and how long they stay.
The key is keeping people engaged. Rather than talking at the camera for an extended period, intersperse pre-produced video clips or slides. Have a Q&A session. And if you’re not sure how to pull the event off yourself, consult a professional.
Avoiding Zoom Burnout
At most businesses, the only virtual experiences are staff meetings, and staying engaged can be a struggle. Howie offers tips to avoid Zoom burnout. First, be prepared. Know what you’ll talk about and have an agenda. Keep the meeting short and to the point, and make sure supporting materials like documents or videos are cued up ahead of time. Finally, consider hiring a professional to ensure ideal lighting, backgrounds, and camera angles.
Listen to the Podcast
For more insights from Howie Zales, listen to Vision33’s Connected Enterprise podcast. Each week, host Carl Lewis interviews bright minds and industry thought leaders about enterprise technology and what’s coming next.